Olympics Closing Comments

The London Olympics did not live up to expectations. Thank Goodness!

First, a mob was expected.

The random ticket lottery left people empty-handed, and the fear of throngs of unruly tourists kept people away.  Most native Londoners skipped town as did many ticketless tourists.   The only “mob” to be found throughout London was the posse of polite and perky pink people (as Jackie named them), the army of good natured volunteers clad in pink and purple shirts who corralled people with consistent courtesy and good cheer.  The Games were made more entertaining by the Brit’s impeccable manners and cheeky humor.  I loved the woman who greeted us in the stadium with a song.  She provided an interesting twist on the popular song from Oliver as she happily sang into her megaphone:

Consider yourself at the Olympics

Have a really great time in the park today….

Second, the anticipated crowds threatened to clog tubes and roads, making travel to the venues arduous.

Nothing could be further from the truth. The Olympics actually provided a delightful time to get around the city with ease, dine in restaurants without reservations, oh, and check out an extraordinary sport or two!  Our tube line was never full, ran on schedule, and offered direct access to all the venues.  It was eerily easy.

Last, there was the weather. 

This summer was the worst on record in over 100 years.  It rained nearly every day in June and July.  When I returned to London the first week of August, I thought I was leaving summer behind in balmy Connecticut.  The Games began in chilly damp weather but ended in spectacular sunshine and warmth.  There was sweat, not rain drops, glistening from the athletes’ bodies as they basked in their golden moments beneath golden sunshine.

Over the past two weeks, we experienced the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat, and everything in between.  We were caught up in the Olympic spirit as we went from beach to track to field to pool to gymnasium to see the world’s finest athletes sprint, spike, kick, dive, swim, somersault, flip…..I get exhausted just thinking about it!!

Here are some of  our highlights.

We got drenched in an unlucky rainfall, though nothing could dampen our spirits as we watched the US Women’s Volleyball team beat #1 seeded Brazil and progress to the finals.  I couldn’t hep but think of mayor Boris Johnson’s provocative comment, noting that the women volleyball players “glistened like wet otters” while playing in the rain.

We routed for the USA’s dynamic team captain, Aly Raisman, as she flawlessly flipped her way to Gold in the floor exercises!

We jumped to our feet to cheer the Netherlands’ Epke Zonderland as he powerfully propelled himself on the men’s high bar to win Gold!

We watched the precision and acrobatics of the women diving from a perilous perch of 30 meters in the semi finals.

We sat among a record crowd at Wembley Stadium sporting our red, white and blue as we cheered the US Women’s Soccer Team on to victory and a Gold!

We sat in a stadium of awed silence as we watched the aptly named Bolt break the Olympic record in the 200 meter race!

We witnessed the fastest 800 meter run ever.  Every runner ran a personal best, and the winner broke the World Record!

We were nearly deafened by the cheers as the USA’s women relay team flew past us, breaking a word record in the 4 x 100 meter race!

We all know the famous words uttered by Julius Caesar:  Veni, Vidi, Vici.  I came, I saw, I conquered.

A common Olympic advert (the Brit term for advertisement) condenses this thought into a different three words:

I WAS HERE.

And loved every minute of it.  What a golden experience.

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